The Parliament Petition team has made a very strange decision


The following item is todays piece – since I wrote it an email has come from Caroline Lucas – although it is at the end of the document, it is actually the latest item on this theme. Now back to the piece I wrote earlier this morning – A few days ago I wrote this blog to explain that I was submitting a petition to call for the UK Youth Parliament to be properly funded by the Government. The e-petitions that take place in Parliament go through several stages before they arrive in the public setting. According to their website they claim that there have been a total of 28,744 petitions of which 2,439 are still active and 3,137 are closed. The vast majority however are the petitions that have been rejected which is 23,158. It would take many hours to count the rejected petitions on the website. However yesterday based on the email I received, my petition was rejected. This is what the text was

Increase the funding for the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament (UKYP)

The 2011/12 UKYP was funded £335,000 by the Government in order to continue its key functions and to sustain its independence and distinct identity. This Government is offering £233,000 to the 2021/22 UKYP which is a 30% reduction over 10 years which is deeply concerning and needs to be reversed.

This was submitted on 27th April and five people needed to sign it before it could be approved and one of those people is Kate Parish who was the Co founder of the UK Youth Parliament. Another was Dan Hardy who is the Independent candidate for the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner post. The fifth signature took place at 8.27pm on the 28th April and I was then told

5 people have supported your petition so far. We’re checking your petition to make sure it meets the petition standards. If it does, we’ll publish it. This usually takes a week or less.

Yesterday afternoon at 2.53pm I received the following information in another email

We rejected your petition “Increase the funding for the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament (UKYP)”

Dear Ian Peter Chisnall,

Sorry, we can’t accept your petition – “Increase the funding for the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament (UKYP)”.

It calls for an action relating to a particular individual, or organisation outside of the UK Government or Parliament.

We cannot accept petitions that call for an action relating to a particular individual or organisation, outside of the UK Government or Parliament. This includes requests relating to funding for particular organisations or charities.

We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards:
https://petition.parliament.uk/help#standards

If you want to try again, click here to start a petition:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/check

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

I told the five signatories about this and Kate pointed out “The UK Youth Parliament is funded by Government via the Department for Digital Culture Media and sport.” and another of my colleagues Colin Miller suggested “the response makes no sense, unless it comes from a general grant fund independently administered, (e.g. by British Youth Council) though this is unlikely.” The element that made it the strangest for me (I have written petitions before and have gone through a call to amend the text or to have one rejected for other reasons) is that in the list of rejected petitions which is available here, does not currently include my petition even though others that were submitted after mine are on the list. So I have written to Caroline Lucas who is my MP to ask her to help resolve this. This is because I cannot see any easy way to raise concerns with the petition section because they don’t appear to have a place to go for challenges. In case the funding issue has any misunderstanding, here are two places which explain why the petition was raised.

In March 2011 this location presented the following words from Tim Loughton

Following a limited competitive bidding exercise the Department for Education proposes to award a grant of £335,000 to the British Youth Council to continue the UK Youth Parliament’s key functions and sustain its independence and distinct identity for six months from April 2011.

And then on the 31st March 2021 as sourced from here Matt Warman explained

HM Government’s core funding for the UK Youth Parliament in 21/22 remains at the same level as the previous two years. Additional funding has been made available in 21/22 to continue enabling UK-wide participation in this programme.

So this would appear to indicate that the Government does fund the UK Youth Parliament. However perhaps like me these Ministers are mistaken. On the other hand the UK Government and Petitions Team may be mistaken.

Just before 9am this morning Caroline sent me this response:

Dear Ian,

Thanks for alerting me to this and sharing the response you have received. The parliamentary petition website doesn’t allow you to submit petitions around funding for particular organisations and, whilst I can appreciate that’s frustrating, from an operational perspective I can understand why that’s the case – given the utterly insufficient levels of support for the third sector, for example, the site would fall over if petitions of this nature were allowed!

If you’d like more feedback, I can ask the clerk of the petitions committee to comment further on why this is the rule – let me know if that would be helpful.

And I do very much support proper funding for the UKYP. If you end up putting the petition on another platform I will happily add my name in support.

Best wishes, Caroline,

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, Parliament and Democracy, Youth Issues and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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